The Dragons of Nova

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The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova

5_stars

“She had always seen tools of destruction as the way to gain control. Hope was a much more dangerous weapon.”

The story continues with Ari & Cvareh on their way to Nova to coerce with his family and Florence in the Alchemists guild working away towards a new rebellion against the dragons. The Dono is aware of a rebellion arising from Loom as well as the Xin House and is taking measures to hold is rule over it all.

The Story-You know, I really do read a lot of YA fantasy. So now that I am reading just a regular fantasy series, it really makes you appreciate how the story falls without something like romance or a singular person’s ideals. The fact that this book is told from both sides gives it a sort of a GoT-y. Mind you, I can’t really say that with authority because I have only read the first half of the first book….But I hope you can imagine the fact that we could all be rooting for Loom, but understand why Nova is operating the way it does. I just love how as the story goes a long, another layer is peeled back to show more adversity for our characters.

The World Building-In tDoN we get to spend a lot more time in Nova where the Dragons reside – and what a beautiful colorful world it is. I love that while Arianna spent time in Nova she was slowly introduced into the things that Dragons do not for practicality that she is used to, but for beauty, and just because it was nice. Like extra pillows & wind chimes. Further indicating how different the world on Loom is from Nova, function versus beauty.

“You build for beauty before function. You spend countless hours on adornments. You make noises with your mouth and tools, calling it song, moving to it and calling dance, but it serves no greater design.”

As the story progressed we got a further understanding of the functions of each guild on Loom. The way that Kova describes the world is poetic without being ostentatious, and it still offers us a super cool steampunk vibe.

It was as if the Harvesters had peeled back the surface of the earth to find its soul. And its soul was the very lifeblood of Loom: iron, minerals, oil, and coal.”

The Characters-

Arianna- Could this girl get any more cooler? Ari’s has this confidence that makes me want to think she is full of herself, but I just end up admiring her badass-ness.

“Far below, a pale blue woman stood with eyes like late sunset and hair the color of morning’s first light. She cut her place in the world with foolhardy arrogance, standing as though she were the personified herald of the Death Lord himself.”

Cvareh- I love Cvareh and his role in the story. He is what is connecting Loom to Nova as he battles between what Arianna wants from him and his duty as Ryu to the Xin House. The chemistry that he has with Arianna is sweltering and his need for her is almost tangible.

Florence-Flor’s development in this book was really strong. Without Arianna as a crutch, Flor really blossomed into a brave, independent girl with her own ideals and dreams.

“She had struggled for so long trying to find a place where she belonged that she had never stopped to see the innate benefits of belonging to nowhere. She could do things no one else could do. She could be things no one else could be.”

Petra- Petra is fierce.  ‘Ends before ideals‘. I love how Petra is unshakable in her hatred for house Rok and her expectation for every Xin dragon to sacrifice everything for House Xin.

I completely adore the covers for this series. The artist is Nicholas Grey, and more of his art can be found here.

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Related reviews:

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

 

 

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Fireblood

Fireblood (Frostblood Saga, #2)Fireblood (Frostblood #2) by Elly Blake

2_stars

“The flame, eternal, like the spirits of the Fireblood people. Crush us, beat us, cut us down. We will not be extinguished. We live in the embers and rise again to consume our enemies.”

Taking over the country after his brother, Arcus has set out to create peace with Sudesia and have a safe place for firebloods. Unfortunately the court is less inclined to accept the warm blooded people.Meanwhile, the Minax is possessing citizens and wrecking havoc in the city by making them kill other people. When his court is attacked because of his new policies, Ruby takes the opportunity to protect Arcus by separating herself from his court and set out on a mission to infiltrate the Sudesian court to find the Fire Minax so the Frost Minax can be destroyed.

The Story– The things I liked about the first book were completely lost here. There was maybe 5 pages of broody Arcus, and obviously no arena scenes. Ruby did have to go through some challenges in order to accomplish her goal, but it wasn’t nearly as captivating as the gladiator-esque scenes while battling the willpower of the Minax. Fireblood was this drawn out story of Ruby just needing acceptance and the entire time she was like “Arcus forever”, turns around, “mmm Kai, you’re conveniently here and flirting with me.”

Around the 80% mark I realized, that this just isn’t going to wrap up nicely in time. Which caused me to realize, that this just isn’t the end.

“‘We need to be prepared for the worst.’

Except the worst keeps getting…worse.'”

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The World Building-There was pretty much no additional world building in this book. What little there was was spent on the dynamic of the Fireblood masters and the trials to become a master.

The Characters

Ruby-Despite there obviously being a love triangle, it was really just so lighthearted that it should hardly count. Ruby being the key element in the triangle turned out to be flighty in the fact that she was so easily swept away. I found that she fell more into the convenience rather than actual feeling.

Arcus-True to form, Arcus was broody and romantic at the same time. Unfortunately, he was only in maybe 10% of the book, yet his presence was enough to keep Ruby faithful enough. My dear Arcus, you deserve better.

Kai-I don’t have any feelings for this guy. Despite him being a fireblood I found him to be lukewarm at best. Honestly, if he was going to sweep Ruby off her feet couldn’t he have had a bigger impact of character traits?

 

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A Gathering of Shadows

20764879A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

5 Stars

AGoS picks up months after where ADSoM left us– on a boat with Lila and her new fellow shipmates aboard the Night Spire. Kell meanwhile is not adjusting to life that is tied to the royal prince. Essentially under house arrest, Kell is getting restless living day to day under constant supervision and without anything to distract him from the one person who manages to find their way back into his thoughts; Delilah Bard. While the rest of Red London is preparing for the Element Games, Prince Rhy devises a scheme to allow Kell to release some steam. Caught up in their own lives, Black, White, & Grey London seem to be flourishing in their own ways.

The Story-This book was so much better than the first one! In fact, it made me appreciate the first one even more! The first book felt more like character development and world development – the background story that brings our characters together, I mean sure there is a lot that does actually happen, but for some reason I feel like the adventure really started here.

The World Building-AGoS really brought in a deeper understanding into the magic that Kell uses. Introducing rules and consequences to the magic, how magic is used combatively, and even how the other countries surrounding Red London view magic. Aside from that we didn’t get much more world building, as we really are returning to our beloved London’s.

The Characters-I feel like the characters really came to life in this book – especially Delilah. Her mannerisms and actions really helped drive her character as she had to prove to herself as well as the world that she is no ordinary girl.

In aGoS we get extra points of views as well. So all those who were going gaga over Rhy in the first book, be happy because you got what you asked for. Unfortunately, Rhy isn’t the charming prince that he comes off to be, and as we delve into her POV we get an understanding of how he feels in the aftermath of Kell linking their lives together.

 

If you haven’t already seen, there is quite a bit of awesome fanart out there for the SoM series.

Kell by Merwild

Delilah Bard by Freiheit

One of my favorites is Merwild. (Kell) The other is Freiheit. (Delilah Bard)

As always, I would be careful scouring the internet for any fan art, as it might unintentionally give away spoilers.

 

 

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Related reviews:

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A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

 

 

 

 

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

Wonder Woman : Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

 

“As I breath, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.” 

 

4 Stars
If you’re new to superhero stories, you should know this, there are lots of different versions to each hero’s story. As a new writer or director brings the story around, they keep the simple elements, but renew the story each time. With that being said, if you recently watched the movie starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, please don’t expect this book to follow the same story line.

Warbringer tells the story of Diana who was born an Amazon, and didn’t earn it. She is steadfast in finding a way to prove that she is worthy of living on the island with her sister Amazons. When Diana makes the mistake of saving a drowning girl, Alia, she goes through great lengths in atoning for the law she broke despite the risk of being banished from the island. Alia is a Warbringer, a descendent of Helen of Troy, and well…a bringer of war. It’s up to Diana and Alia to find a way to break the Warbringer curse or risk starting WW3.

The Story– Told from alternating POV, this action packed book brings the punches over and over as Diana learns to maneuver in the mortal world while trying to protect Alia and save the world from a massive war. While the book was exciting, it did take place over just a few days, making it also fast paced. Therefore there really wasn’t room for a very in depth story. After the origins portion of the book, the reader is sent on a mission to get from point A to point B alive – meaning, a lot of stuff happens in quick spurts to deter them from their mission.

The World Building-The world building for Themyscira was wonderful. You get a real sense of peace and a bonded sisterhood among the Amazons. Getting the background on the culture of the Amazons really helps a reader to get into the conscious of Diana and why she is so motivated to prove herself. Being set apart all she really wants is to belong and be worthy of being called an Amazon.

The Characters-All the characters had their own unique personalities, and even though Diana is the main character, it was a relief to experience a wide variety of attitudes; the fierceness of the Amazons, Alia’s need for freedom, the controlling aspect of Jason (Alia’s brother), the whitty Nim (Alia’s best friend), and the nerdiness of Theo. All of their personalities combined give a little bit for everyone. My favorite part for Diana, however, is her cluelessness to modern idioms despite her knowledge of the mortal world.

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The Gunslinger

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

1 star

“Beyond the reach of human range
A drop of hell, a touch of strang
e” 

I cannot review this book because I have no idea what I just read. HOWEVER, I have heard good things about the series as a whole…so I might give t

he next book another try…like when I feel an itch to read something pretty obscure.

Feel free to inform me on anything that I missed, but here’s a rough summary, Some spoilers may be included:

The gunslinger is on this mission to find the Man in Black to find some Dark Tower. He’s traveling in a desert following his trail, he finds a boy they keep going over the desert and they go through a mountain. There’s a shooting in a town and some weird mountain creatures that make the book almost exciting. There are some flashbacks that give some semblance to who the gunslinger is. This is what I got from that. 1. he was raised to be a gunslinger, 2. his dad was royalty? 3. girls want his wiener a lot.

I’m not going to cover what actually happens at the end, because I don’t understand what even happened at the end–some sort of reenactment of the first verses of Genesis? “Let there be light”

I am truly so confused.

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Spellslinger

25181955Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

3 stars

“There’s no amount of magic in the world that’s worth the price of a man’s conscience” 

Kellen is about to turn 16, the age when Jan’Tep prove their magical abilities or become a Sha’Tep for the remainder of their lives, serving those who are true mages. As each day gets closer to his birthday, he seems to be loosing more and more magic. It isn’t until Ferius Parfax shows up that Kellen starts to realize that a life of servitude isn’t the only option.

The Story-Spellslinger was unique enough to keep my interest. Here we have a story of a guy who sucks at magic, and despite the goodness of his heart, life really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Everything Kellen does pretty much comes to the last ditch effort. He really does endure a lot despite the knowledge that no matter what, best case scenario he ends up as a servant for his uber powerful sister, worst case scenario..he’s dead and he drags his family’s name through shame.

The book ended at a point to where you could read it as a stand a lone or continue the series on. I for one, am curious to see where Kellen’s journey continues.

The World Building-How in the world did De Castell manage to make a hand working-magical-monk-esque world blend in with an outlaw-wild-west feel? When you think of both parts of this story separately you would not have guessed that combined they work. It wasn’t anything as epic as peanut butter & jelly (or whatever your favorite combo is) but, it still flowed well.

Basically were in a world where each family raises their kids to learn their magic. They’ve got these band tattoos on their arms so that when they are able to control a certain element the band “sparks”. These kids practice their magic standing around near the oasis, which is the source of their magic I guess. They move their hands in somatic formations, mumble a phrase, and blam magic.

Then you get this character, Ferius, who is like a card wielding Billy the Kid like character. Everyone is wearing of the outsider with her deck of cards. Suddenly, this magical story is a western. I know, odd right? But it somehow didn’t bother me!

There was a lot of thought that went into some of the details too. Such as, since they grow up having all these servants and really just standing around making magical spells, they are all rather out of shape, to the point that Kellen is a little weakling & hardly has any stamina.

The Characters
Kellen -Somehow by the end of the story you are rooting for this whiny kid. As an outsider, I just thought that I just wanted to punch him and yell and him to quit being such a selfish cry baby. Then there is this obsession with this girl. A girl he doesn’t seem to really interact with but is still crazy about. I had to remind myself that he’s 15, and well I mean his priorities are obviously all kinds of screwed up when he only cares about the fact that he hadn’t kissed a girl when his life is in imminent danger

Ferius Parfax -What a badass. I mean really, all she does throughout the book is speak obscurely in riddles, deal some cards and smoke her pipe. But somehow I idolize her as…well super cool. I think it’s the way she breaks the mold in such a mundane world.

Reichis -A squirrel cat with a serious attitude and an appetite for eyeballs. Let’s just say that I would want him on my side. Despite the fact that his attitude was a little annoying sometimes, he still made a compelling sidekick.

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Gemina

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files #2

5 Stars

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

THIS BOOK WAS PERFECTION!!

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Gemina continues the epic story that Illuminae started. From Jump Station Heimdall we meet a whole new crew of ass-kicking and hacking characters to continue the prosecution against BeiTech.

The Story– I didn’t quite believe people when they told me Gemina was better than Illuminae. But OH. MY. GOSH. It truly was so much better. It did NOT suffer from that second book syndrome we know as “this sucks”. I don’t even need to say much about how awesome the story is, if you loved the first one, you will most definitely love this one, if not even more like I did (and obviously so many other people). I don’t know how the story was able to come up a notch, but it did and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one!

The World Building– How do you expand the world on a space ship? Kaufman and Kristoff have introduced some elements that, frankly, scared the shit out of me. I’m not going to say what said element was, but let’s just say that my (irrational) fear of air vents has been rekindled. Yes. Freaking. Air. Vents.

Even though we the story is in a futuristic multiuniverse there are still some familiar attributes to be found in this book. Annoying double entendre pop songs that are way over played, culture (such as Russian), drug dealers, instant messaging. It’s all stuff that isn’t too crazy sci fi for the average person to get behind. So even if you aren’t really into sci fi, you can still enjoy the non stop action this book provides.

The Characters-Kady & Grant << Hanna & Nik << AIDEN.

I know, right? Yay for more Kady, Grant, & AIDEN!!! I am so glad that they did have a come back, at first I was slightly worried since we were on a completely different location in space.

Hanna-Such a bad ass! I love that even though she was all prim & proper spoiled could still live a little. She had a journal to draw out her feelings. Her dad had her in combat training. And above all else, she still had a little sense of adventure or a spark for the wild side. Despite all that, she still had her moments where she was a broken girl, and it was such a relief to see a hero still be able to feel despair, failure, and anger.

Nik-Can I have one please? I love that Nik is not who you expect him to be. His character has such excellent development from what Hanna’s preconceived opinion of him. There’s never a moment where I wasn’t cheering him on. I always have been a rooter for the underdog. & I am love a story with the most unlikely companions.

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Song of the Current

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

3 stars

In an attempt to keep her dad out of jail, Caro a wherry(wo)man, must transport a crate and deliver it to Valonikos. Unfortunately, it isn’t just any crate, and there are pirates searching the rivers for it. Caro must rely on her friends and her own skill to complete her task – all the while hoping the god of the river will finally call out to her like all the other good wherryman have been called.

The Story-I love me a pirate story. This is my second one this year, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still mostly enjoyable. I loved that instead of your typical high seas type of pirates, we had wherrymen – which are essentially on river barges. Unfortunately for me, there were a few elements that were sort of lacking. The only other thing I thought was odd about this story was that if there was this boat chasing after them on water…why didn’t they just travel by land? I am sure there could be a million reasons why…but not one was mentioned…like going by wherry boat was the only way to their destination.

The World Building-Even though a majority of this book is spent on a boat, there was a little bit extra going on. Since the story was mostly set on the waters of a river, there were marshes and other boats for the story to take place in. I loved the culture of the river that was different from people of the sea/ocean. There was definitely a lot of boat jargon that I had to keep up with, some went a little over my head, but a little knowledge and imagination goes a long way when it comes to inferring what the heck the people were doing on their boats.

There were some magical elements that was included in the book that wasn’t really explained – shadowmen, frogmen & gods that speak to whatever you were called to….but not everyone can speak to the gods (of the sea, river, mountain etc). It didn’t feel forced on the story, but I wish a little bit of the culture surrounding it all was better explained – alas, that’s what second books are for! I hope that not only do they explain these elements a little further, but also introduce more. More drakons please. Let’s face it, I am a sucker for dragons, put one in the water, still just as cool to me.

The Characters-Sometimes when I am reading a book I feel really connected with the characters. I felt that this book wasn’t one of those books. Maybe it’s just me. The characters themselves were still fun. Caro was a little feisty girl – both headstrong and loyal. She’s happy with her life and doesn’t want anything besides making her father happy and finally hearing the river god call her. She really doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

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The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

Much to my friend’s amazement, I knew pretty much nothing about the Percy Jackson series before starting this book. I think I enjoyed it a lot more because I didn’t really know any of the little factoids that a lot of other people know, heck, I hardly even knew the synopsis before opening the book. I knew that my 11 year old nephew was reading the series, and that I wanted to read it with him. I really wish that I was his age reading the book for the first time. The thing about Percy Jackson that would probably make it so appealing to as young as a 5th grader is that they probably have a lot of recent education on Greek mythology in school. At least, I think I learned about that stuff around the 4th or 5th grade, to be honest it was so long ago it mostly mashes together. Regardless, it should be taking a lot of information that they would be familiar with.

TLT tells the story about Percy Jackson a modern day kid who finds out that his dad is Poseidon (HA! I didn’t even know this going into the book, but apparently it’s in the synopsis so I don’t count this as a spoiler). There is trouble with the Greek gods as someone seems to have stolen Zeus’ thunder lightning bolt. Someone, Percy to be precise, must find the lightning bolt before the wrath of the gods starts WWIII.

The Story-Obviously, kids like to have stories where ordinary people find out they are destined for greater things. When we are young we like to let our imaginations get away with us (heck, I still do). TLT delivers what is familiar and makes it into something exciting. Throughout the book, I am reminded of familiar mythology as it is reincorporated into Percy’s quest.
The writing style in the book is so easy and flows well enough that any young reader will enjoy the book because it reads like someone telling a story. A story full of twists and turns and never a dull moment.

The World Building– There isn’t a lot of new world building as this is set in a modern day setting. However, Riordan does a spectacular job of modernizing the Greek gods into Western civilization.

The Characters-Percy really is such a lucky boy. I mean, yeah, his life leading up to his quest was pretty awful, however, he should pretty much be dead. There were so many opportunities where he could have easily died, the end. It really was right place & right time plus a little dash of help form his friends (and dad).

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I’m not going to go too in depth into all the people and friends Percy meets. But I will say that I love how the gods are depicted in this story. They are supposed to be this revered being, but they’re just a bunch of selfish, snotty brats. It’s funny how entitled they are because of their power.

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Strange the Dreamer

28449207Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

2 stars

“And anyway, she asked herself, what real risk was there? It’s just a dream, she answered, though of course it was so much more.” 

Strange the Dreamer is the story of Lazlo Strange, a decided dreamer. What does he dream of? The mythical lost city of Weep. Despite the lack of interest in Weep that his colleagues has, Lazlo is assiduous in his studies and finds himself an opportunity of sorts to travel to the city, literally, of his dreams. He along with a band of variety of specialists find themselves on a expedition to find out what happened to the city 200 years prior when it lost communication with the rest of the world, and most importantly what has been haunting the city since. Through the journey Lazlo experiences more life than he had ever read of in his books.

The Story-The one word I think of is oxymoron. This book was so enchanting but at the same time sluggish and boring. There was beautiful prose and imagery, but it only amplified the buildup of the story. While I am happy I didn’t DNF the book, I doubt I will be picking up the next installment, unless I don’t have anything better to read. The part that really made me just so mad in this book was didn’t even happen until 70% At that point, I had to decide if I was too far invested to give up, which clearly I didn’t.

All I can say is, the ending only just barely makes up for that curve ball. If you can suffer the few chapters there is quite an exciting finish, that may or may not be expected. Thinking back on it, it really is the only way to end the story (minus my complaint that will come later in the spoiler at the end of this review).

The World Building– What makes this underdog story unique is the pitch that Laini Taylor gives it in. Here we have this whimsical city that would make a 5 year old Lazlo gallivant in an orchard pretending to be warrior from, risking a beating from the monks that took him in. The world that Lazlo comes from is drab in comparison to his dreams, and it is because he is a dreamer that we get the opportunity to have such a vivid world.

The Characters
Lazlo-Obviously he is what really drives this story. Without Lazlo’s idiosyncratic imagination, we would have nightmares. It’s his candor personality that makes him so lovable. The way he covets weep, shows respect to it, and does his best to understand it helps us empathize with the people of Weep when we discover what has been going on.

Sarai– It’s Sarai’s contriteness that diverts our predilection against the haunting of Weep. She is unintentionally ostracized from her companions due to how she was raised and what was expected of her.

Now there were definitely some characters that got some extra sections that were unnecessary, as well as some that should have received a little bit more love. I think it is largely due to the long winded world building and the curve ball chapters. But who knows, maybe the next installment in the series will focus in on their story, their struggles, and what their dreams may be…even if they are broken.

*****Spoiler time******
The insta-love was just a shock to my system. Here I was engrossed in this underdog story with a beautiful world building, and then BLAM! a chapter on two lonely characters learning to kiss. I don’t mean like a quick paragraph of *smooch smooch* that feels great!. I mean this part of the book was written just like the rest of the book was, achingly beautiful but long winded.

I totally understand that they were lonely, and they had this connection that is dreams and the beauty in it. But what the what?? Their love was rushed while everything else in the book took time. Now while I thought that it was necessary for the Goddess of Nightmares to have a connection with Strange the Dreamer, they could have had a bond of friendship, a true camaraderie, or heck even just a slow simmering romance.


*****End Spoiler*****

Don’t remember who wanted book playlists, but here, at least, is my theme song for this book The Dear Hunter – The Kiss of Life. I thought of this song as I was reading throughout the entire book, and I actually do find it quite fitting. Also, it’s from one of my favorite bands. ❤

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